Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Reading The Woods

Today I sat down to read through my issues of The Woods, a comic from Boom! Studios. There's 8 of them so far and damn, shit got real there in those later issues! There's a lot of interesting character development happening, too.

I won't say much more except, it's a really weird, really fun book. Look for a review before month's end at Blue Skirt Productions

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In Memoriam, Michelle MillerAllen

Yesterday, I felt nostalgic and wanted to share my recent writing successes with a mentor I had in high school. I looked up her production company, shot off an email. Then I clicked on their link for news and learned something that rocked my foundation.

She had passed away in April of this year.

Back in 1994, I was a junior in high school and, among other things, was part of the gifted program. We were told someone local was interested in mentoring a student and I ended up with the opportunity. Then I met Michelle Miller. She was the author of at least one locally published novel as well as a playwright. The idea was to turn a short story I'd written into a novel. That never ended up happening, but she did teach me some useful things. Like, know your characters - write a biography or at least an outline of what they're all like and who they are. That I should write even if I had no goal just write for the sake of writing. She gave me a book on writing, Writing Down the Bones, that I still have to plow through because, well, I was a teenager, and it was sort of dry. (I'm honestly still not sure how I was able to pass considering the stated goal was never accomplished.)

We ended up continuing our meetings through the summer and into the next year because we'd become friends. It felt, looking back, almost like a big sister/little sister kind of relationship. We'd still talk about writing, but we also talked about life. She taught me many things...
about bagels & lox
the joy of blueberry bagels with cream cheese
espresso drinks.
crazy indie art
craft fairs
that heartbreak can (and should!) be viewed as "a good learning experience"
decent restaurant seafood
how amazing a small group of artists can be together
the importance of being independent and not taking crap from anyone
to be brave enough to buy (and wear) crazy purple boots
about playing 3-way chess
about having confidence to be who you are

There are more things that I can't quite put a name or description to, but suffice to say, I feel my life is much better and richer for having known her. My husband and I went back to New Mexico in the late '90s and attended her wedding. We continued to correspond into the early 2000s, but sometime after her husband and partner lost a battle with cancer, she moved to Scotland in 2005. According to an item I found yesterday, she settled in nicely and began working towards improving the environment in her new home.

She was a wonderful, vibrant, fiercely independent woman with a kind heart and fabulous sense of humor. If you're so inclined, her books are currently listed on Amazon and Hunger in First Person Singular is definitely worth a read.

Fare the well, Michelle. Here's hoping you found light, love, and peace on the other side!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review of Red Sonja & What Happened After

Last week, September 10 to be exact, my review of Gail Simone's Red Sonja comic went live. I reviewed the first 6 issues for Blue Skirt Productions and it can be found here. Much positve feedback was recieved from friends and on Sunday, I decided to see what would happen if I Tweeted it to Gail Simone herself. 

Much to my delighted surprise, this happened:

It was a near-silent "SQUEE!!" of fangirl delight, as my husband was sleeping in the other room. I then contented myself with a ridiculously excited, all-caps Facebook status update followed by the screenshot above. Then a friend called & we geeked out over the phone about this experience, during which she discussed a recent Twitter interaction with artist JH Williams III. It was a good time. 

Afterwards, I got a new follower in the form of an indie comic publisher I hadn't heard of before, and when I looked the review's been shared to FB 21 times & 5 to Twitter. Pretty cool. Now I'm deciding what to do for October. It will definitely be fun to see where this goes!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Well, Isn't That Awesome?

Back on August 10, I wrote a thing. A review of the new Serenity comics from Dark Horse. A few people read it, gave me some neato Facebook comments & that was that. Then something remarkable happened.

Two or three weeks ago, I got a note from a friend. Blue Skirt Productions was wondering - would I like to become a monthly contributor, reviewing comics/graphic novels for them? After roughly a minute or so of going "squee!" and reading the message aloud to my husband, I enthusiastically agreed. (Prior to this, I'd also submitted a microfiction story that is published here. August was good to me!)

I posted my first submission last night for their review & let me tell you, for me, writing when you know with absolute certainty that someone with an editor's eye is going to read your work is weird. Usually, on the occassion I would update this blog, I'd just kind of bang out an entry in a couple of hours. That review took several days. Then more time. Then finally I said, "fuck it" and submitted. So far so good. :)

I'll post at least a link here, or perhaps I'll be able to post the text itself as long as I link back. I'll have to check. Anyway, next week will bring the review of the first 6 issues of Red Sonja by Gail Simone.

Talk to you soon!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind

Over the years, we've been given glimpses of the Serenity crew through the medium of comics. (Most have been set post-Firefly/pre-Serenity.) Ever since a one shot released on Free Comic Book Day in 2012 set post-Serenity that showed a pregnant Zoe, I've been dying for more tales. Earlier this year, Dark Horse Comics granted my wish with the publication of the first issue of Serenity: Leaves on the Wind.

The story picks up a short time after the events of the film and opens with Zoe about to give birth as they're trying to stay under the radar and hide from the Alliance. River is in the pilot's seat now, and as a nice nod, Wash's dinosaurs still adorn the console. Things go wrong and Zoe needs care that Simon is not equipped to handle, so they travel to an outpost with better med facilities, only to have the Alliance show up. Zoe insists that they leave her, so that her child will be safe, telling him "I can take care of myself." The plot turns then to figuring out how to rescue Zoe and along the way, see some familiar faces. We also get a taste of the program that River was part of before Simon rescued her, and it ain't pretty. 

Along the way, we also learn that a movement has sprung up that calls itself the New Resistance. (When we first see Jayne in the story, he's been tracked down by one of their members in hopes of finding Mal.) They've co-opted the Independent's flag as part of their symbol and rally around Malcolm Reynolds as their hero. 

Each of the characters gets time to shine, in some small way, and certain 'shippers will find some great stuff in these pages. 

The story is by Zack Whedon, with art by Georges Jeanty, a name familiar to some from his work on Buffy Season 8. Cover art is by Dan Dos Santos, and Joss Whedon is listed as an executive producer. Zack really captured the voice & tone of the characters, obviously he is a fan of his brother's work and paid attention. He gives Jayne a bit of dialogue that cracked me up, because it's a line that only Jayne could deliver! Jeanty's style may not be for everyone, but I enjoy it. (I also might be a teeny bit biased because 4 years ago I saw him at Phoenix Comicon and he geeked out with me about the Buffyverse for about half an hour. And he signed my stuff...and was super cool.) One of my favorite images is near the end of issue 6. It has no characters, just Serenity in flight, with clouds at her back, and a single green leaf in the foreground, drifting. 

So, fellow Browncoats, if you've had a yearnin' for the story of what happened after Serenity, do yourself a favor and pick up this series. It's all done now, so you can read it all in one go. I picked them up as they were released, but after seeing that issues 1 and 2 both ended on cliffhangers, decided to save myself some heartache by waiting until the run was finished. Sadly, there don't seem to be plans for more right now, but that could always change...and it was left wide open to continue. I'll leave you with an image of my favorite cover, issue 6. Stay shiny and keep flyin'...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Granny Sana, She Shall be Missed (game)
Banished Update:

  Granny Sana passed away today at the age of 82. She was one of the original settlers of her village and was a pillar of the community. Her fishing helped provide some of the food necessary for them to keep going and was something she enjoyed into her later years. Sana was never one to let old age slow her down, having re-married 3 times after the age of 63. She is survived by her children and her (fourth) husband Ambrosendo.

  Jason started playing the game, Banished, yesterday and has built a village. Through the course of the game, you can follow your villagers, see what they're up to, and general information about them. At some point today, he noticed that Sana was pretty old compared to everyone else...and wasn't dying. We became pretty attached to her, noticing how she moved with almost unseemly haste following the death of each husband. (In one case, she moved house & left all her belongings behind, including quite a lot of food!) Just when we began to believe she was immortal, the unthinkable happened. She died of old age in the early summer and I almost cried. So long, Sana, you will be missed. Now we'll track someone else & see if anyone can beat your record.